Meet the most generous tipper in America

Russ Johnson, a retired manufacturing executive based in Louisville, Ky., read last week’s Moneyologist column on whether or not you should tip for takeout, and it hit a nerve.

He emailed to say that not only does he tip the takeout guy, he tips 50%. In fact, he tips most people between 30% and, often times, 50% rather than the 20% recommended by most restaurants. After a conversation with a golfing buddy 10 years ago, he decided to stop donating to charities and start tipping half the bill. “It makes me feel good and I hope the recipient feels good as well,” he says.

“I have convinced many of my friends to reduce donating to charities with overhead structures and spend the money by tipping hardworking people,” says Johnson, 73. “I would rather put money in the hands of people on the low end of the scale working their way up the ladder than in some bureaucrat’s hand who works for an organized charity.”

Johnson is a retired U.S. marine and spent 13 months serving in Vietnam. His wife, who is a retired pediatrician, and their son and daughter all support the 50% tipping policy. (His children themselves cannot afford such a policy, even though they’ve almost paid off their student loans.)


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